Marvel's 'Runaways' Will Play Fast and Loose With its MCU Connections

Friday, 28 July 2017 - 6:50PM
Marvel
Runaways
Friday, 28 July 2017 - 6:50PM
Marvel's 'Runaways' Will Play Fast and Loose With its MCU Connections
Hulu
As the MCU and all its many tentacles continue to extend into various new shows, it's getting difficult to know what counts as canon and what doesn't. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and The Defenders reference events from The Avengers, but this isn't a two-way street, and that leads to more than a little confusion.

With Marvel's new Hulu show Runaways on the horizon, the question needs to be asked: how does this new, young adult-oriented show fit within the established MCU universe? Will Runaways connect with the other stories that Marvel is telling, or will it be separated into its own canon? The answer, according to Marvel's Head of TV Jeph Loeb, is not to worry about it too much.

While indeed in the MCU, the Runaways are doing their own thing, and that's all that matters. Although the specific wording of his comment does make it sound as if he doesn't have a clue what it's like to be a teenager in the modern world:

Opening quote
"It all exists in the same world. How it's connected remains to be seen. I think it much more lives in a world of if you're a teenager, since it's all connected through social media and connected in it's own way, would you be following Iron Man or would you be following somebody more your age? The fact that they have found each other and are going through this mystery together is at the moment what they're concerned about, not what Captain America is having for lunch on Friday."
Closing quote


So Runaways won't mention the Avengers very often because teenagers are too self-absorbed to pay attention to politics? Okay, sure, whatever. Ask any teenager their opinion of Elon Musk, for example and you'll get a far more detailed answer than Jeff Loeb would expect.

Patronizing comments about today's youth aside, there's some wisdom to not working too hard to tie Runaways to the wider events of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the comics, the Runaways are often isolated from the main Marvel heroes, as they view authority with suspicion (again with the teenage stereotypes). They literally run away from all that - the plot follows a group of children who run away from home upon learning their parents are all supervillains - and an important part of their story is the fact that they only rely on each other.




Shows like Legion have proven that sometimes, it's better to ignore the specifics of the wider universe in favor of telling a tight personal story. Worldbuilding may be Marvel's greatest strength, but as we've seen in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., tying a show too closely to the events of big budget movies can overly complicate things. There's a reason why Phil Coulson and his team don't do more superhero fighting in the wake of the Sokovia Accord.

In spite of Loeb's comments, though, it's likely that we will see references and Easter Eggs that connect Runaways to the larger universe of Marvel heroes. Namedropping Tony Stark (the MCU's slightly alcoholic Elon Musk) goes a long way to making the world feel busy and large.

That said, this isn't necessary. Interconnectivity isn't as important as good storytelling, so if Marvel's focus is on developing the characters within Runaways (and finding a way to make a believable velociraptor on a TV budget), the show will end up being a lot better than if the studio instead, say, shells out for a two minute Samuel L Jackson cameo.



Marvel's Runaways premieres November 21, 2017 on Hulu.
Science Fiction
Comic Book TV Shows
Marvel
Runaways
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